Women’s Day of Prayer – at Albany Church, Hill Street at 2pm. All are welcome to attend.
Mary Padfield is looking for a reader to help at this event. If you would be able to take part, please give her a call on 763508
As the election gets closer, it is important the we are all well informed so that, in conscience, we make the right choice! As such a new menu option at the top of the page has been added: ‘ELECTION 2015’
Look on this page to see the latest news, and to view updates from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
A six-year-old Scottish girl named Lulu wrote a letter to God: “To God, How did you get invented?” Lulu’s father, who is not a believer, sent her letter to various church leaders: the Scottish Episcopal Church (no reply), the Presbyterians (no reply), and the Scottish Catholics (who sent a theologically complex reply). He also sent it to the (now former) Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent the following letter in reply:
Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It’s a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this –
‘Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected. Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I’m really like. But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!’
And then he’d send you lots of love and sign off. I know he doesn’t usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf. Lots of love from me too.
(with thanks to Ben Myers at Faith and Theology: http://www.faith-theology.com)
Lent is a great time to deepen our spiritual selves through prayer, fasting and almsgiving: but all three must be done in balance and in harmony with each other. Every now and then I hear people say that “I’m not giving up anything for Lent, I’m going to do something extra” and this misses the point. If they do something extra, then the increase in charity is good – but the “extra” they’re doing is often for the sake of charity, which is just the almsgiving they should be doing anyway. Where has the “extra” gone now? We often ask “what are you giving up for Lent?” but almost never pose the question, “What’s your almsgiving this year?” or “what’s your extra prayer devotion this year?” Those who say they are “doing extra” instead of fasting, run the risk of only doing the almsgiving, or they end up doing a double dose of almsgiving and prayer, yet still no fasting. This is not good. The hardest thing to find in life in balance, and balance must be part of our spiritual lives too.
The reason why the three are important, are because they address the three fundamental relationships we have: our relationship to God, our relationship to neighbour, and the relationship we have with ourselves.
Prayer concerns our relationship with God – by deepening our prayer life, we come to have a better and more intimate relationship with God. (Although there are times when God may call us into a ‘desert experience’ when we seem to loose all contact with him).
Almsgiving concerns our relationship with our neighbours – it’s more than just giving money to the poor: we can come to love and empathise with our neighbour thorough many different works of charity. This includes giving money to poor, but it may be more helpful to support our neighbour who is not poor by giving them our time so that we can listen to them in their needs. Our neighbour needing charity is not just the homeless person we see on the street, but could be a friend who needs a shoulder to cry on, a family member who needs careers advice, or a work colleague who is stressed about some element of their job.
Fasting concerns the complex relationship we have with ourselves. How can we love our neighbour as ourselves, if we don’t know the “me” that I am loving, or even trying to love? Through fasting we discipline ourselves so as not to be fickle to the emotions, yearnings and temptations that blow us around every day. We learn that we can control our desires and temptations so as to live more freely for doing what is right. We often act on impulse without considering a situation, but fasting allows us to master the impulse so that we may more readily discern what we should do as a Christian response to a situation.
As we undertake our Lenten disciplines, let us pray for each other that we might find a balance in our prayer, fasting and almsgiving, so as to comprehend more readily ourselves, our God and our neighbour.
The second meeting which takes up Pope Francis’s call to discuss Marriage and family life takes place tomorrow, Thursday 19th February at 7pm.
(no longer available)
Today is the fest day of Ss Cryil and Methodius. Co-patrons of Europe and Apostles to the Slavs.
These two brothers were born in Thessalonica in about the years 825-830. Both monks they were later to become bishops and spread the faith through slavic nations. They devised stable political rule and a civil code and. In order to lave the Word of God in the places they visited, they devised the Galgothic alphabet which was used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic. Their names were rendered Кѷриллъ и Меѳодїи and today we know the descent of this alphabet as Cyrillic, after Cryil. Let us pray today for peace in Slavic countries, including the Ukraine.